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Making an estate plan in steps can simplify the process

The task of creating a comprehensive estate plan can be overwhelming and confusing for some. Breaking up the creation of an estate plan into steps is recommended as a way to tackle the process and ensure it is done correctly. Similarly, it is important for Michigan families to weed out steps that may not apply to them and focus on those steps that do.

A will is perhaps the most basic and essential document that should be a part of an estate plan. However, another document that all individuals should consider is a living trust. A living trust can be a way to distribute assets to heirs directly without the heirs having to face the public probate process.

Location of chimney touches of potential real estate litigation

In urban areas where buildings are in close proximity, shared space or attached elements of a building may be a source of contention or even possibly a legal dispute between building owners. For one pair of building owners in another state, the location, condition and purpose of a newly discovered chimney has caused some strife. Shared urban spaces in Michigan could also be a source of possible contention between building owners, and that contention could even lead to real estate litigation between property owners.

The strife began as a chimney was discovered under stucco, attached to a 71-unit co-op in the city. Upon further investigation, the chimney was attached to one building but also attached to a boiler for the adjacent building. Neither building owner was aware of the purpose or existence of the chimney. The discovery of the chimney led to the discovery of much needed repairs to the structure, repairs that were required by the building codes in the city.

Will challenge unfolds after politician's mom passes

While the importance of drafting a will can't be overstated, there are incidents where the presence of a will does nothing to stop family disputes from unfolding after a death. This can be true especially between children after the death of a parent in Michigan. A recent will challenge is making news as the former mayor of the nation's capital is caught up in a family dispute after the death of his mother.

The mother died at the age of 87. She had a will drafted 10 years before her passing. She had eight children who are now fighting in court over details of the will.

Single Michigan residents should consider estate plan needs

Some people may wrongfully assume the estate planning process is for families with children or couples with valuable assets to divvy up or protect for the other party's future. Everyone, particularly single Michigan residents, needs to ensure that a proper and well-thought-out estate plan is in place as soon as possible. Single people may be at a greater risk of seeing assets distributed in a manner in which they would not approve.

According to law, when one spouse dies, most property and assets typically get passed on to the other spouse. This occurs even when there is no will or formal estate plan. When a single person without children dies without any plan in place, assets may be given to the next closest relative. This may be parents or siblings. Without a will, the single person simply has no say in how this process unfolds.

Dramatic rent increase results in landlord/tenant dispute

Rental amounts can naturally be a point of contention for landlords and tenants. When an agreement is reached and a lease signed, there are rarely disagreements that lead to legal intervention. However, when one party feels the other has acted unfairly, a landlord/tenant dispute can erupt and lead to the necessity of legal intervention. Michigan renters and landlords may want to follow the story of a woman who posted the details of a rent dispute on a social network, drawing both sympathy and scorn.

The woman had rented a two-bedroom apartment for roughly 10 years. She was in a rent-controlled place and paid $2,145 a month for rent. Unexpectedly, the woman received notice of a staggering and, in her opinion, unfair rent increase. The notice listed the new rent for the same apartment as $8,900 a month with mention of an increase in the security deposit listed as $12,500. While the notice said that the high security deposit was monthly, it is believed that may have been an error in the notice.

Trust management depends on picking right trust for your needs

A trust can be an essential tool for the estate planning process. Once you have decided that leaving funds to beneficiaries through a trust is wise, your trust management options may hinge on the type of trust you decide to create. Trusts can meet varying needs, which makes understanding the different types available imperative for Michigan families. This requires being fully aware of your objectives and what exactly you want for those left behind.

For families with special needs family members, a trust specifically designed to meet those ongoing needs is a wise choice. There may also be situations that make leaving assets to one generation an unwise choice for all. For this particular scenario, a generation skipping trust can be useful.

Real estate litigation may involve more than you may think

When people think about what a real estate litigation scenario looks like, they may be quick to think about a dispute over a contract or a problem between a landlord and a tenant. However, real estate litigation can involve a wide range of issues. It is important for any Michigan resident entering into a real estate deal to understand the kinds of disputes that may occur and how litigation may be needed to find an acceptable and fair resolution.

Real estate deals involve titles. Sometimes, there are situations in which one party tries to claim ownership of a property, and a title dispute may only find a resolution in the courts. Property details, particularly property lines and boundaries, can easily lead to litigation situations. Easements can also be a source of contention and dispute, as can a party occupying a space and claiming legal ownership based on the time period for which they have occupied the property.

Fate of church at center of landlord/tenant dispute

Whenever a tenant moves into a dwelling or establishment, that tenant may embark on making improvements to the property. Typically, the landlord gives permission for specific improvements, and an agreement between parties is reached. However, there may be instances where a landlord/tenant dispute erupts over the fate of property once a tenant has invested a great deal of time and money making improvements to the place. Michigan landlords and tenants may be interested in a story about a church at the center of such a dispute.

A reportedly dilapidated building was rented by a pastor and his wife as the location of their new church. In 2009, the pair leased the property and set out to make extensive improvements. The then-vacant property was said to be run-down at the time. The pair then spent over $220,000 repairing and improving the property with the belief that they could eventually be allowed to buy the property.

Baby boomer generation needs to think of estate plan needs

As the baby boomer generation enters the realm of retirement, there are other needs that may be left unchecked. An estate plan and what to do in the event of incapacitation may be one area where baby boomers in Michigan have failed to be proactive. If one has not been put in place as of yet, anyone of this particular generation may want to get started with the basics.

Retirement cash flow is a must, but not the only must. The retirement plan and estate plan should go hand in hand so as to provide a retirement income and funds for any unexpected long-term care needs. Health care needs should be considered in the short term and long term. A health care proxy is an excellent way to plan for medical care and financial needs simultaneously. The direction a health care proxy gives to a loved one can save time, money and worry by all parties.

Work with experienced attorney to cover your bases before purchasing a new home

Purchasing a home is a big financial move for anybody to make, and it is important to do one's homework so as to avoid problems after the transaction is complete. For those looking to purchase a home, getting a good inspection is important since a properly trained inspector can help spot potential problems with the property so that these issues can be addressed in the negotiation process, or so the interested party can move on.

Home inspection is not an area where you want to try to skimp or skip out altogether. Doing so may have no consequences in the end, but in some cases it can lead to major problems and cost homeowners a lot of money, particularly if problems arise with respect to the dwelling's structure, mechanicals, plumbing, and hidden aspects of the condition of the home.

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